Sugars Affect Brain 'plasticity' Assisting With Learning, Memory, Recovery: Study - Eastern Mirror
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Sugars affect brain ‘plasticity’ assisting with learning, memory, recovery: Study

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By IANS Updated: Aug 16, 2023 6:50 pm
Researchers have found that sulfate groups on complex sugar molecules called ‘glycosaminoglycans’ (GAGs) affect “plasticity” in the brain that assists with learning, memory, and recovery, a new study said on Wednesday.
Sugars affect brain 'plasticity'

SAN FRANCISCO — Researchers have found that sulfate groups on complex sugar molecules called ‘glycosaminoglycans’ (GAGs) affect “plasticity” in the brain that assists with learning, memory, and recovery, a new study said on Wednesday.

According to the study published in the journal American Chemical Society, the sugars that sweeten fruits, candies or cakes are actually just a few simple varieties of the many types of sugars that exist, which when strung together, can make a wide array of complex sugars.

GAGs are formed by then attaching other chemical structures, including sulfate groups.

“If we study the chemistry of GAGs in the brain, we can learn about brain plasticity and hopefully, in the future, use this information to restore or enhance neural connections involved in memory,” said Linda Hsieh-Wilson, the project’s principal investigator.

“These sugars regulate numerous proteins and their structures change during development and with disease,” she added.

Moreover, the study mentioned that the most common GAG form in the brain is chondroitin sulphate, which is found throughout the extracellular matrix that surrounds the brain’s many cells.

Chondroitin sulphate can also form “perineuronal nets”, which wrap around individual neurons and stabilise their synaptic connections.

Further, when the team of researchers deleted the ‘Chst11’ gene responsible for forming two major sulfation patterns on chondroitin sulfate in mice, defects formed in their perineuronal nets.

However, the number of nets actually increased in the absence of the sulfation motifs, changing the types of synaptic connections between neurons. In addition, the mice were unable to recognise mice that they had previously been introduced to, which suggests that these patterns affect social memory.

According to the researchers, these nets might be more dynamic than once thought — they could be playing a role in both childhood and adulthood.

When the researchers targeted ‘Chst11’ specifically in the brains of adult mice, they found the same effects on perineuronal nets and social memory.

“That result suggests that it may be possible to manipulate these nets during adolescence or adulthood to potentially rewire or strengthen certain synaptic connections,” Hsieh-Wilson stated.

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6091
By IANS Updated: Aug 16, 2023 6:50:31 pm
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